1 post • joined 26 Jan 2007
Part of the difficulty in providing even multidimensional data is that most consumers of reports are not quite accustomed to navigating multidimensionally. The real power of multidimensional analysis is that it can lead analysts not only to answers but master data answers.
For example, If you have a customer dimension that breaks out your customers by industry, some multidimensional analysis might eventually show that your most expensive customers are in health care and transportation. The real power of OLAP is that you can now make the suggestion to breakout health care and transportation to smaller sectors than currently exist in your transactional data. Which is to say that you should evolve your dimensions as conditions change.
A proper OLAP system allows for a rapid evolution of master data based upon the results of prior analysis.
Very few implementations get so far as to manage the master data question from the results of OLAP. It is more likely that companies will throw all attributes willy nilly into a huge ODS and then 'boil the ocean' via data mining. This can yeild good results, but nothing really compares to human analysis and feedback. This is the real strength of OLAP and why I think it will continue to be useful in the future.
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